In this April 14, 2020, file photo, a sign is seen outside the Central Maine Power's Belfast Service Center. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

A federal judge has denied a motion by Central Maine Power and its parent companies to dismiss or delay a case brought by customers who allege that they received inaccurate charges from a new billing system and that the company attempted to conceal the defect.

U.S. District Court Chief Justice Jon Levy dismissed the motion, which argued that the five plaintiffs should resolve the matter using a system for disputing inaccurate bills that’s already in place with the Maine Public Utilities Commission, the Portland Press Herald Reports.

“This is because those claims are focused on the overarching question of whether a systemic failure occurred with the 2017 launch of SmartCare that led to erroneous metering and billing of CMP customer,” Levy wrote, “and whether (CMP) misled the plaintiffs about this failure.”

CMP’s parent companies, Iberdrola of Spain and Connecticut-based Avangrid, argued that the plaintiffs are creating the threat of a class-action lawsuit without proving their claims through the PUC.

CMP said Monday that it can’t comment but will consider it’s options moving forward.

The company wrote in a statement that “two independent system audits analyzing approximately four million bills, the PUC has definitively determined that CMP’s metering and billing system is accurately measuring and billing customer electricity usage.”